By Gracious George
Health workers in Bayelsa State have began receiving their first doses of the Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccines following the official flag off ceremony by the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo on Friday.
The health workers converged on the premises of the Isolation Centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri to receive the vaccine.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Newton Igwele represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Inodu Apoku said they choose the NDUTH because the Isolation facility there has been a major centre of activities in the state’s fight against the pandemic.
He appreciated the contributions of the Federal Ministry of Health and other development partners in helping the state control the pandemic and record low casualties in comparison to other states in the country.
Dr. Apoku expressed delight that the state has received the vaccine which is a very potent instrument in curbing the spread of the virus, and enjoined everyone to present themselves to be vaccinated.
He said the vaccines are safe, as no one has had any side effect since it was administered on them and again encouraged everyone to receive the vaccination for their health and safety.
On his part, the Chief Medical Director NDUTH, Prof. Dimie Ogoina said there are always conspiracy theories surrounding new medication but he assured that the vaccines are safe.
He said the hospital consists of front liners and case managers that have been actively involved in managing cases of COVID-19, adding that vaccination is the most effective public health intervention for any disease.
Prof. Ogoina noted that the vaccination will reduce the burden they have in the hospital, saying arrangements have been made to start the vaccination in different hospitals across the state.
High point of the event was the vaccination and data capturing of the CMD, Permanent Secretary, Directors in the Ministry of Health and Bayelsa State Primary Health Care Board, Representatives of the WHO, UNICEF, NPHCDA, frontline health workers and other healthcare professionals.